Weekend Roundup & MSPIFF14 double reviews starring Juliette Binoche

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.

I took a bit of a break from blogging this weekend, but this week has been pretty busy in terms of movie watching. It’s the last week of the MSPIFF 2014 and I saw three more films, one short of what I intended to see but fortunately there’ll be a press screening of Locke next Monday. As the film fest continues with Best of Fest screenings all week, there’ll be more reviews coming from both me and Josh 😉

Here are the three new movies I saw over the weekend:

WeekendViewingApril20

I’ve blogged about All Things To All Men quite a while ago and finally it’s available on Netflix streaming. Remember how I always say some movies are well worth seeing just for the cast. Well, in this case, the ONLY thing worth seeing is the three actors: Toby Stephens, Rufus Sewell and Gabriel Byrne in that order [I’m having a serious crush on Toby, didn’t you notice?] Alas, the film itself left so much to be desired, and leaves me scratching my head why these actors signed on to do such a project. Did they lose a bet or something? I’m not sure I could even review it, but let me just say that unless you’re absolutely in love with any of the cast, I can’t exactly recommend it.

These two from MSPIFF, on the other hand, is well worth a look.

MSPIFF_Reviews

1,000 Times Good Night

Rebecca is one of the world’s top war photographers. She must weather a major emotional storm when her husband refuses to put up with her dangerous life any longer. 

This is one of those dramas that at times play out like a thriller. Even from the first moments when the protagonist is witnessing a ceremonial custom of an Afghan suicide bomber being prepped for self sacrifice, it’s quite an emotional roller coaster all the way to the very last scene.

For Rebecca (Juliette Binoche), covering the war is not just a job, it’s her way of life. When she comes home injured from Afghanistan, it’s apparent that it’s just as tough for her family to deal with her dangerous job. It’s apparent that her husband Marcus is constantly worried sick for Rebecca and this incident puts him over the edge which compels him to give her an ultimatum. It’s her family or her job. At first I felt that it’s not fair of him to do so, but as the film progresses, we’re shown how her two young daughters are dealing with her absence whilst she’s away in a war zone. It’s a tricky dilemma that I find myself grappling with as I watched this film. I read that this film is semi-autobiographical as Norwegian director Erik Poppe was a war photographer himself. No doubt this story is quite a personal one for him.

AThousandTimesGoodNight_Stills

The main quibble I have with the film is the slow pace. I don’t mind quiet moments on film, but at times it felt a bit too indulgent that it threatens to grind the film to a halt. The metaphor of Rebecca drowning/suffocating by her life dilemma also grows repetitive. But the cinematography is simply stunning, nearly every shot is like a work of art. It’s also very atmospheric and the conflict felt genuine. The sense of authenticity comes from a committed performance from the always-reliable Binoche, as well as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who plays her sensitive & caring husband. I’ve always been a big fan of Nikolaj from his short TV stint in New Amsterdam, long before he played Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones, and he proves himself once again to be a capable and versatile actor. Lauryn Canny as Rebecca’s eldest daughter Steph is also quite good. When they’re in Africa, something happened that was quite traumatic for Steph. Some of the most emotional scenes in the film feature the two of them.

The heart of the film is no doubt Binoche. She conveys so much even in scenes where no words are spoken. This is the first of two films I saw her in and she’s absolutely excellent in both of these. There’s a certain aura of mystique about her that seems unreachable, and she’s very convincing as an fiercely idealistic woman. There is a fine line between bravery and recklessness and I think this film often blurs that line. There is a hint at the finale where Rebecca is back in Afghanistan that perhaps she’s a changed person after what happened between her and Steph, but the film lets us interpret that for ourselves.

3.5/5 Reels

 


Words and Pictures

An art instructor and an English teacher form a rivalry that ends up with a competition at their school in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important.

Romance that’s sparked out of rivalry has been done many times before, but with the right cast, it can still feel fresh. The pairing of Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche is what intrigues me about this film and they’re still the reason to watch to movie.

Owen is Jack ‘Mr Mark’ Marcus, a gifted English teacher at an upscale prep school. His best days as a published author seems to be behind him and he’s got a drinking problem. Perhaps that’s a result of his disillusionment with his life, as he seems to have lost his mojo, as well as in danger of losing his job. Meanwhile, a renowned painter Dina Delsanto (Binoche) has just been hired at the school. Her nickname is icicle for obvious reasons, but her coldness seems to also stem from her disappointment that she can no longer paint as much as she did due to her server Rheumatoid arthritis.

WordsAndPicturesStills

The two couldn’t be more different from each other, but as they say, opposites attracts. It’s fun to watch Owen in a softer role like this where he’s not firing a gun every two seconds, but his intensity is still there as he bud heads with the school principal and board members. He’s a deeply flawed character and in the most vulnerable moments, especially between him and his estranged son, is where I enjoyed his performance most. I wish the film would focus more on these two characters, as all the drama with the students are not as intriguing to me, and they don’t really add much to the story. The whole school competition of Words vs Pictures is more of a personal *war* for Marcus and Delsanto, and though it’s predictable that they’d end up together, it’s still fun to watch their banters. I personally like the pairing of Owen and Binoche more than him and Julia Roberts in Duplicity, which I find rather contrived. The only other actor I like in this movie is Bruce Davison as one of the more sympathetic faculty members.

Binoche is lovely here and it’s a testament to her versatility that she is also very convincing as a painter. I didn’t know that she’s an artist herself but in the credits I noticed that the Delsanto’s work is by Binoche, wow! I think out of the two films I saw last week, her dramatic chops perhaps suits something like A Thousand Times Good Night better. I like the idea of two broken people finding each other and to see a romantic film between people over the age of 40. Alas, I think the ending is almost as rough as Owen’s unkempt stubbles. Even the finale of the competition just didn’t have the oomph needed to make the story soar. Overall it’s an enjoyable dramedy though, eons better than a lot of the rom-coms are churning out these days. If you’re a fan of these two actors, this one is definitely worth a look.

3.5/5 Reels


So what did you see this Easter weekend? Anything good?

August Movie Watching Recap & Movie of the Month

AugustRecap

Well, that was that, Summer is unofficially over. Yes I know the weather is still going to be pretty warm for most of us, even those in the Northern hemisphere, but once we enter the ‘ber’ month, you could say that Fall is in the air. To be honest with you, I’m ok with that. I LOVE Autumn. I love the cooler temps, the Fall fashion, the quieter movies, and of course Twin Cities Film Fest is coming soon! Check out the early look of the 2013 lineup if you haven’t already.

Well, since hits and comments are definitely down in the Summer, a lot of people are likely have missed a lot of my blog posts 😉 Here are some of my posts this past month:

New-to-me Films Watched:

DragonsKnightDragon Knight

Arbitrage

Arbitrage

ElysiumElysium

TheButlerThe Butler

JobsJobs

TheWorldsEndThe World’s End

AustenlandAustenland

Mud

MUD

ShadowDancer

Shadow Dancer

I never got around to reviewing Arbitrage, but I might still do that as a Rental Pick post. It’s a pretty good drama with Richard Gere in top form. Great performances from Susan Sarandon & Brit Marling as his wife & daughter. I was very impressed by MUD and Shadow Dancer. Two very different dramas but both featured strong performances and kind of a minimalistic-but-efficient script and direction. Both are quite emotionally-charged where the real special effects are the taut writing and top notch acting. I miss seeing Clive Owen on screen, the last film I saw him in was Gertrude & Gelhorne on the plane last December.

SharkWeek

Oh, I also watched a few episodes of Shark Week from Discovery Channel. I didn’t realize Netflix has them but we were actually looking for some Documentaries to watch but ended up watching a couple episodes of The Great White Invasion episodes. Fascinating stuff but pretty gory as well as they did re-enactments of people who got attacked in various parts of the world.


Rewatches:

Titanic_RoseTitanic

SupermanReturnsSuperman Returns

PridePrejudice2005Pride & Prejudice

I actually only got to about a third of Titanic. I was just bored one night and saw that it was on Netflix streaming, so I thought what the heck. It’s been over a decade since I saw it and boy the CGI looked so obvious on the long shots on top of the boat. Funny how I briefly had a crush on Leo when it came out, but now he just looked like a little boy next to the womanly Kate Winslet.

Not sure why I felt like watching Superman Returns last week but I stopped about 10 minutes before the ending with the ill-advised part with Supes’ kid. I still love the flying sequence and the plane rescue scenes though. Following the screening of Austenland, I felt the urge to watch Pride & Prejudice. I think I love Joe Wright’s version even more than the BBC version, and yes, I boldly say Matthew MacFadyen is my favorite Mr. Darcy as well 😉


Movie of the Month:

MUDposter

I had been wanting to see MUD since last April at MSP Film Fest. I’ve actually got the ticket in hand but I had to bail due to a darn snow storm! In any case, this film was SO worth the wait. Shrewd script & direction from writer/director Jeff Nichols, paired with a fine, career-topping performance from Matthew McConaughey. Definitely lives up to the hype!


Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in August?

Musings on Hollywood Relentless Miscasting

I read the other day that Tom Hardy was being considered for lead role in the Jack Ryan spinoff Without Remorse, which prompts me to write this piece.

Filmmakers and studio executives tend to cast the wrong actor/actress for a certain role many times. Some times it works out well, but other times, not so much. For this post, I’m going to start out with my rant about Hollywood miscasting and then ask you, dear readers, some questions about casting.

With the upcoming film Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise, many fans of the books have been complaining about how Cruise looks nothing like the character from the books.

Now I’ve never read any of Reacher’s novels, but apparently he’s 6’5 and weighs well over 200lbs. (per stats on author Lee Child’s website), while Mr. Cruise is merely 5’7 and weights maybe 170lbs.? That’s definitely a miscast, but I’m still looking forward to seeing Jack Reacher this Winter. Why you ask? Well Tom Cruise is my favorite actor and I dug the teaser trailer they showed us a few weeks back.

Another book adaptation that’s coming to the big screen is Without Remorse written by Tom Clancy. I used to read a lot of Clancy’s novels and many of them were very good but my absolute favorite is Without Remorse. The book’s about a character named John Kelly who later became sort of a super spy for the CIA named John Clark; it’s basically a prequel. It tells the story of how Kelly became known as Clark, think of it as a Casino Royale type of story, instead of James Bond, it’s John Clark. His character appeared in two films, first he’s played by William Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger and then later in The Sum of all Fears, which was portrayed by Liev Schreiber. None of the actors captured the true essence of the character.

According to some reports, Paramount Pictures is trying to sign Tom Hardy for the John Kelly/Clark role. Now I like Hardy as an actor but he’s totally wrong for this part. Clark is described as lean and stands about 6’0″ to 6’4″ tall. Hardy on the other hand, is about 5’10” and rather stocky-looking. If Hardy accepts the role then I’m sure he’ll lose some weight and look leaner; but I still don’t believe he fits the character. To me the right actor for the role would be a younger version of Bruce Willis or Clive Owen, these actors are way too old for the role now though; in the book Clark’s in his 30s. The only actor I believe fits the role right now is Michael Fassbender. He’s the right age and of course he looks the part. Back in the mid 1990s, Keanu Reeves was actually cast as Clark and John McTiernan was going to direct. Fortunately the studio that owns the rights to the book went bankrupt and the film never happened. I like McTiernan as the director but Reeves would’ve been a disaster.

This kind of bone-headed decision really tick me off as a fan, I was too young to remember but apparently there was uproar by fans of the comic books when Michael Keaton was cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman back in the late 80s. My opinion, this was one of the worst castings ever, I like Burton’s two Batman films but Keaton’s no Bruce Wayne/Batman. In fact, I thought Keaton looked kind of silly when he’s in the Batman suit, with his big head and tiny body, he did not look intimating at all. Another awful casting was Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and Angel and Demons. Hanks a great actor but he’s no Langdon, what a idiotic decision by Ron Howard and Sony Pictures.

Howard again made an awful decision by casting Javier Bardem as Roland in The Dark Tower film adaption of Stephen King’s epic novels. Thankfully the project never took off, Bardem’s a great actor but he would’ve been awful as Roland The Gunslinger. Currently they’re having trouble getting the project green lighted and Russell Crowe is now the front runner for the part of Roland, a better choice but to me the perfect actor to play Roland is Clive Owen. Take a look this drawing of Roland, to me the only actor who fits that photo is Owen. Now I know King said he wrote the part with Clint Eastwood in mind but if you’ve read the 6th book then you know that’s not true, I won’t go into it but I’m still mad about it.

Now here’s my question to you.

Say you’ve written a great script and then you’re lucky enough to have gotten a meeting with executives at one of the big movie studios. They love your script and want to make it into a film. They even agree to let you direct your own script (it’s a dream of mine and many other film maker wannabes out there), so you’re now super excited and can’t wait to get going. But before the executives signed off on the project, they give you a list of actors they want to play the lead. Unfortunately none of the actors fit what you had in mind when you wrote the script. So what would you do? Do you tell the executives that you want a certain actor for the role and risk losing the deal? Or do you suck it up and go with one of the actors they gave you?

I’m going to use myself as an example here, I’m currently finishing up a script and the actor I want to play the lead role is Clive Owen (yes I have a man-crush on Owen), so when I look at the list of actors the executives showed me, Owen isn’t on there. What I would do is tell them I want Clive Owen for this role and not only that, my agent and I have sent the script to his people and that he wants to be in the film for a very cheap price. Of course Owen is not an A-list actor, I think he’s in the C-list category now since he hasn’t starred in any big budgeted films for a while; the studio people will for certain reject him.

So what shall I do? Well it depends, I’ve spent many years writing this script and now I’m finally close to make it into a film; I will have to think hard before agreeing to the deal. Say the list of actors were Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Leo Di Caprio and Will Smith. If I agree to cast one of these actors, I will have the budget that I need to make the film the way I envisioned. If I keep insist on casting Owen then I’ll probably lose the deal with the studio. I could shop the script around and hope one of the smaller studios would bite but I won’t have the big money to spend and I won’t be able to shoot what I wrote in the script. So in the end, I will cave and go with Mr. Cruise as my lead actor.

– post by Ted S.


So what do you think of studio keep mis-casting roles? And would have cast an actor the studio insisted or do you keep your principal and tell the executives to f-off?

DVD Picks: The Cove, The Boys Are Back, Bright Star

The Cove – Documentary
Synopsis: Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renown dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taiji, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

This doc was highly-recommended by a group of friends as we’re having dinner. I haven’t watched many documentaries, but I know that if done well, it can be as powerful and thrilling as any film. The Cove is definitely one that delivers suspense, thrill, and adrenaline rush, but most of all, emotional punch! Even in the first few minutes, one feels for the dolphins and the man who strives to save them. O’Barry is the man who started it all, and he told the cameras that he felt partly responsible for the public’s fascination with dolphins as he was the trainer for the TV show Flipper. The show’s popularity no doubt kicked off the multimillion-dollar seaquarium industry. “I spent 10 years building, and the next 35 trying to tear down,” he said. His change of heart happened right after Kathy, the lead dolphin of the show, died in his arms. He even called it a suicide as the mammal was so miserable living in that man-made water tank. Ever since that day, he put everything he had into the cause of freeing the dolphins.

The large part of this eco-documentary took place in a cove in Taiji where approximately 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered in the most heinous way every year. Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos (known for his photography work for National Geographic) – who’s also a licensed scuba diver – brought a group of daredevil volunteers that include a pair of world-class divers, tech experts and cameramen to help O’Barry’s cause. It’s fascinating watching them find clever ways to get some video footage of this secret ‘slaughter house,’ even enlisting Psihoyos’ friend from Industrial Light Magic! The documentary also delves deeper into mercury-poisoning, with research/analysis support from Japanese scientists. If you eat sushi and fish regularly, you definitely need to watch this!

There’s a reason this movie won a gazillion awards (there are at least 20 of them listed in Wikipedia). But even with all the tech gizmos and breathtaking underwater scenery, what makes this doc great is it never forgets the ‘heart’ of the story, which are O’Barry with his inspiring tenacity, and of course, the subject of his cause. The scenes of the dolphins swimming freely and happily in the ocean are so beautiful and moving, and an Aussie pro surfer told a touching tale of how these dolphins actually saved him from a shark attack. The way these friendly cetaceans are depicted here make the brutal slaying all the more devastating. Suffice to say, I won’t be going to Sea World ever again after this, and I’m certainly glad I don’t eat fish!

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The Boys Are Back
Synopsis: Set in South Australia, this memoir-based film tells the story of a sports-writer Joe Warr who’s suddenly faced with the task of raising his young son after the untimely death of his second wife.

Growing up without a father myself, I’m somewhat drawn to fatherhood-type of movies like this one and Dear Frankie with Gerard Butler. Perhaps I’m also curious how these typically bad-ass actors would fare in a soulful, quieter roles. Well, let me just say that Clive Owen pulls off the tricky role of a grieving husband and befuddled dad believably, which is a 180-degree change from his perpetually cool and confident action hero we’re used to seeing. This film no doubt tugs your heart strings but veers away from being too sentimental or schmaltzy. The credits goes to Owen’s affecting performance, but George MacKay (Harry) and Nicholas McAnulty (Artie) who play his kids are just as noteworthy.

There’s something deliberately unfussy about how the story is told, this is definitely a better and more poignant parenting-themed film from director Scott Hicks than No Reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. Joe’s journey and his struggle to cope with 6-year-old Artie – who doesn’t know how to express his own grief – feels genuinely real. There’s a particular scene when Artie throws tantrum during an arduous road trip, McAnulty’s wordless performance with his wide, evocative eyes is heart-wrenching. Refusing the help of his protective mother-in-law, Joe sets his own parenting rule, which no doubt make his house look like it’s been hit by a tornado. But somehow, the father and son muddle through the best they know how, and the way the story was handled make their eventual bond feel natural and unforced. I also like the fact that the movie doesn’t gloss over Joe’s past mistakes of abandoning his first wife and son for another woman, nor does it set an unrealistic turn of events as an excuse to ‘spice things up.’ I’m referring to the tentative ‘romance’ if you will, between Joe and a young, benevolent recent divorcee Laura, though it’s clear their attraction is mutual.

Things get more interesting as Joe’s angst-ridden teenage son comes to visit from England. I laughed when Joe explains of the his rules of ‘no cussing’ to Harry, as he himself repeatedly uses God’s name in vain. So blasphemy apparently doesn’t count as foul language? [shakes head] In any case, tension mounts between Joe and Harry, who feels abandoned by his father. At the same time, conflicts arise when the demand of his job requires him to travel. A series of events that follow make the three of them analyze and truly ponder what it means to be a family. As the voice-over says, “life is a journey to be traveled no matter how bad the road,” it really resonates with me, and how true that statement is. There’s really no such thing as a ‘perfect’ family, but we’re all called to make the best of what we have. The Boys Are Back is a satisfying ride, both emotionally and visually, boasting stunning scenery of South Australia countryside with its rolling hills, dusty roads. This easily rival Baz Luhrman’s Australia as a tourism-boasting flick for the land down under.

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Bright Star

Synopsis: Period drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25.

My girlfriends and I watched this on our monthly movie nite last month. I’m a sucker for period dramas, a mere mention of tragic/unrequited/slow-burn love stories and I’m there! Given the unanimous critical praise (97% on Rotten Tomatoes!), I was prepared to be dazzled. Alas, the movie doesn’t quite live up to its title. Such a pity because it seems to have a lot going for it and certainly John Keats’ story is worth-telling.

So what’s the problem?

Well, for one it’s the agonizing pace. Granted a measured pace is what one should expect from movies of this genre, but there’s s-l-o-w and there’s s…l…o..o..o..o…w… I mean it just trudges along far too long that our patience is wearing thin. It’s as if the director wants us to reflect meditate on all the lush photography (they are indeed stunning) and savor every little detail on a room, the wildflowers, a bonnet, pretty much everything the camera captures. The critics call this ‘understated’ but the word I’d use is tedious.

But the crucial reason this movie fail to captivate us is because we simply couldn’t connect with Fanny the way we did with other heroines of similar genres, i.e. Jane Austen’s Fannie Price, The Dashwoods, Lizzy Bennett, or most notably Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskells’ North and South. It’s not so much as the actress’ fault as the way her character’s written. Fanny comes out like a whiny & spoiled brat at times, and certainly fits her reputation of being a frivolous fashionista. Yet despite her affinity for fashion, her costumes aren’t that fabulous. Yet Campion keeps hitting us over the head with all the details… yes, yes I get it, she’s a fashion designer, but if I want to see a movie about clothes, I might as well rent The September Issue! Then there’s John Keats himself. I’ve heard lots of good things about Ben Wishaw, but somehow his portrayal comes across as eternally glum and frail, sans the charismatic quality the real poet supposedly had. Worst of all, I don’t find him appealing at all, nor do I find that undeniable chemistry between the two.

Perhaps it’s due to those very reasons that the movie fail to engage on the crucial selling point: the romance. Despite all the flirtation, the poetic letters, the longing glances, I just don’t ‘feel the love,’ that burning passion so fierce and vigorous that a serene bloke like Keats can only express through his poems. I’m not dismissing Keat’s poems by any means, but I don’t think one need to be well-versed in poetry in order to empathize with people falling in love. But even by the end of this movie, I feel like I still don’t know what to make of the characters & their motivation.

Perhaps the one ‘bright’ thing about the movie is Abbie Cornish’s performance. Despite what I’ve said about her character, it’s undeniable that Cornish is a talented actress. She has a certain grace about her and her acting seems refreshingly authentic. I dare say she has a huge potential to follow in the footsteps of Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett because she really is that talented. The one scene where I shed a tear is when John’s death is announced, which caused Fanny to sob so forcefully she’s gasping for air. That performance alone merits an Oscar nomination! Paul Schneider as Keats’ best friend Charles Brown turn in a compelling performance as well. In fact, I could say that his character leaves more of an impression to everyone in our group than the poet himself.

To sum things up, Bright Star isn’t a terrible movie, it’s got its fine moments I suppose, but it’s definitely not great.

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So readers, have you seen or plan to see any of these flicks? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Chat-Worthy Actor: Clive Owen

cliveowenbmw
This past Monday, IMDb homepage featured Clive on its actor spotlight section. As he ranks pretty high up there in my favorite actors list, I thought I’d put him on the spotlight here, too. The dashing Brit is one of those actors who despite a few lousy flicks (i.e. the preposterous Shoot ‘Em Up and the dull Duplicity), still comes out practically unscathed. IMDb’s description of him is quite fitting: Whether performing Shakespeare, driving a speeding BMW, or holding his own against mega-stars, Clive Owen has established himself as one of the most versatile actors in theater, television, and film.

cliveowenboysareback

Looking at his filmography, he’s got some great movies under his belt. Children of Men is destined to be a classic sci-fi drama, which remains my favorite role from the tall Brit. I also enjoyed his performance in Inside Man, King Arthur, Beyond Borders, Gosford Park, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The International. I even enjoyed his brief appearance in the first Bourne film, Bourne Identity. Though his attempt at comedy in Greenfingers didn’t fare as well as his action/dramatic ones. His latest movie The Boys Are Back shows his tender side as a single parent raising two young boys (check out my review). He also played a dad alongside Catherine Keener in the David Schwimmer-directed indie Trust.

The first time I saw Clive might’ve been in those BMW short films The Hire, which I thought is a pretty shrewd marketing campaign that truly flaunt those coveted German automobiles. This series of eight short films (which you can watch on youtube) was released online back in 2001, featuring popular filmmakers such as John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, etc., and starring Clive as the “Driver.” Sure Jason Statham is cool in The Transporter, but Clive adds a dose of sophistication and class to his ‘cool factor.’ Despite his nonchalant demeanor, he projects a certain brand of pathos with his soulful eyes that I find incredibly attractive.

All that always brings me to this theory: Clive would make a terrific James Bond. Whenever I watched him in action flicks (and there are quite a lot of ’em) or even the way he talks with that deep, raspy voice (always a plus!), I kept thinking how Clive would’ve fit that 007 role like a glove. He not only looks the part (tall, dark and British), he somehow epitomizes what I think the text book super spy ‘model’ is supposed to be. Ok, I know, I know, it’s really a moot point now as the actor himself don’t even want the job. He did do a parody of Bond in The Pink Panther though, which I thought is pretty amusing. On his IMDb trivia, he’s quoted as saying: “Bond was the best thing that never happened to me. I was never in the running but the more I said so, the more people thought I had it in the bag. What’s so funny about it all is my career in Britain was in really bad shape at the time, but my agents pretty much built me a new one in America by playing up all the Bond stories. All I had to do was keep on telling people I was never going to be Bond. I’d like to think I made it on talent, but it’s really just dumb luck. If I hadn’t worn that tux in Croupier, I’d still be begging for the parts Robson Green turned down on cop shows.”

Oh well, at least we have those BMW films to watch Clive looking very Bond-like and wish I could take a ride with him in those ultimate driving machines… well, then again maybe not. Just take a peek at this one called Star and you’ll know what I mean. Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring his own ex-missus Madonna, I bet he’d get a kick out of this one even more now.

Now, this action-packed one called Ticker with Don Cheadle and Ray Liotta is also worth checking out, it’s easily my favorite one of the series:


Updated 10/3:

I hope to see Clive in leading roles again as he’s more versatile than Hollywood gives him credit for. Now that I’ve seen a bit more of his work, I can say that I like him in dramatic roles as much as his more action-packed roles. So here are my top five favorite Clive Owen roles so far:

  • Theo Faron – Children of Men
  • Mac – Shadow Dancer
  • Louis Salinger – The International
  • Sir Walter Raleigh – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Joe Warr – The Boys Are Back

Are you a fan of Clive? What’s your favorite Clive Owen movie(s)?

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week – The Boys Are Back

Clive Owen takes a break from being a gunslinging action hero with a tender fatherhood tale that’s based on a true story. The plot centers on a wisecracking sportswriter Joe Warr who’s suddenly thrown into single parenthood in the wake of his wife’s tragic death. Forced to raise not one but two boys, a curious six year-old and a rebellious teen from a previous marriage, he struggles to take care of them in a household bereft of any feminine influence. Ultimately, father and sons alike must find their own way, amidst tumult and grief, to grow up and draw closer as a family.

Brought by the director of Shine and producer of Billy Elliot (which I absolutely adore!), the film is also executive produced by Owen himself. I teared up just watching  the trailer, Clive looks like a natural in what’s promised to be a poignant family drama. Oh, and the scenery of South Australia countryside is breathtakingly gorgeous. Here’s wishing Clive will never again do anything like the atrociously preposterous Shoot ’em up. Ever.